Billionaire former CEO of collapsed crypto giant FTX has been bribing lawmakers investigating his companies. SBF made over $300,000 in campaign and PAC donations to members of the House Financial Services Committee and the Digital Assets Working Group.
Sam Bankman-Fried Gave $300,000 To FTX Lawmakers
Explosive new report shows that Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX, and his partners lobbied lawmakers that are currently investigating FTX and Alameda Research. Donations of over $300,000 were made to nine members of the House Financial Services Committee, with most funds going to members of the Digital Assets Working Group, who are in charge of developing the framework for United States’ cryptocurrency regulation.
Last week, House Financial Services Committee members congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-California) and representative Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) announced a bipartisan hearing that would conduct an investigation into SBF’s companies. In a joint statement released by Waters and McHenry it was detailed that the committee “expects to hear from the companies and individuals involved, including Sam Bankman-Fried, Alameda Research, Binance, FTX, and related entities, among others” in December. Lawmakers say that the investigation will have “broader consequences for the digital asset ecosystem”.
“Oversight is one of the Congress’ most critical functions and we must get to the bottom of this for FTX’s customers and the American people. It’s essential that we hold bad actors accountable so responsible players can harness technology to build a more inclusive financial system,” said representative McHenry.
Now it’s been revealed that the FTX founder and his associates paid over $300,351 in donations to members on both sides of the House Financial Services Committee. ‘Protect Our Future’, a political action committee (PAC) founded by SBF and his brother Gabriel, spent $199,851 backing Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) in his election. The Democrat policymaker who serves on the committee’s Digital Assets Working Group also received another $2,900 in campaign donations from the billionaire.
Also Check: Matter Labs Raises $200 Million To Expand zkSync
SBF and his partners also donated to four other members of the Digital Assets Working Group, representatives Ritchie Torres (D-New York), Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey), Jim Himes (D-Connecticut) and Sean Casten (D-Illinois). Protect Our Future gave $40,300 to Torres’s campaign and two PACs associated with the politician – the Torres Victory Fund and La Bamba.
While Gottheimer received $16,000 from Sam and Grabiel Bankman-Fried, who was leading FTX’s regulatory proposals to the U.S government, Himes and Casten were paid $5000 and $9,100 by FTX staff and other associates. According to a report by the Washington Free Beacon, Gabriel Bankman-Fried worked as a congressional aide for representative Casten until last year. Gabriel also visited the White House in march as a member of the ‘Democracy Alliance’, a progressive network funded by billionaire donors of the Democratic party.
SBF donated $11,600 to House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Jake Auchinloss (D-Massachusetts), $5,000 to a PAC for Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and $5,800 to Senator John Hoevan (R-North Dakota). The crypto kingpin made major contributions to Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan) and John Boozman (R-Arkansas) who proposed legislations that would bring the crypto industry under regulations of the much lenient Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) instead of the more aggressive Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Bankman-Fried donated $5,800 to Stabenow’s campaign and $20,800 to her joint fundraising committee, and $5,800 to Boozman. He also lobbied a combined $31,000 to campaigns and joint fundraising committees of sen, Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Tina Smith (D-Minnesota), Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Kristen Gillibrand (D-New York).
The donations secured Sam Bankman-Fried and his brother Gabriel access to the White House where they have visited thrice this year and a say in the crypto framework that was being developed by the Digital Assets Working Group. In 2020, the billionaire donated $5 million to a PAC that supported President Joe Biden and $40 million to the Democratic party campaign this election cycle. Other contributions include $6 million to the House Majority PAC, $1 million to the Senate Majority PAC, and $900,000 to the Democratic National Committee.
Last December, SBF and seven executives from major crypto companies testified before the House Financial Services Committee because of the public’s concern over risks posed by cryptocurrencies and service operators.
“There is complete transparency about the full open interest, there is complete transparency about the positions being held, there is a robust consistent risk framework applied,” said Sam Bankman-Fried about FTX’s operations.
The Digital Assets Working Group was launched by representative Maxine Waters last year with the intention of protecting consumers and investors by enacting proper regulations for the crypto industry. Lawmakers have criticized the group for not having proposed any regulations to date, which they say could have protected victims of FTX’s bankruptcy.
“The fall of FTX has posed tremendous harm to over one million users, many of whom were everyday people who invested their hard-earned savings into the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, only to watch it all disappear within a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, this event is just one out of many examples of cryptocurrency platforms that have collapsed just this past year.
That’s why it is with great urgency that I, along with my colleague Ranking Member McHenry, announce the Committee’s intention to hold a hearing to investigate the collapse of FTX,” said congresswoman Maxine Waters in her statement regarding the bipartisan hearing that will be conducted to investigate FTX’s wrongdoings.